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Thursday, November 11, 2004

UN staff leaving Darfur camps 

Look how easy it is to get that bothersome UN off your back:

The United Nations is withdrawing some staff from Nyala in Sudan's Darfur region because authorities are preventing them from doing their work.
But don't worry, the awesome power of the United States is all over this:

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said he will pursue with the Sudanese an "unacceptable" assault by security forces on a Darfur refugee camp.

"I'm sure it'll be discussed within the (United Nations) Security Council as well," he said.
Oh no! Not the (gasp) Security Council!
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Big changes in Sudan 

The good news: The Khartoum government has reached an agreement with rebels in Darfur which could lead to the disarming of the Janjaweed militias. The militias have been conducting attacks in Darfur, killing tens of thousands and forcing millions to flee as refugees.

The bad news: The government is picking up the slack and the UN isn't doing anything about it.

Sudanese security forces have again stormed a refugee camp in the troubled region of Darfur and attacked crowds.

Police fired tear gas and assaulted residents at El-Geer camp near Nyala, just hours before the UN's Sudan envoy arrived at the settlement...

The police showed open contempt for UN officials when they arrived.
Can't imagine why.

African Union peacekeepers at the camp said they did not have power or mandate to intervene, our correspondent adds.
We certainly should not ask a UN-sponsored force to actually do something. After all, the sheer moral weight of their presence can do the job!

The raid took place a day after the Sudanese government and the rebels signed what has been described as a breakthrough agreement aimed at ending the crisis.
Some breakthrough. This is not going to stop until someone brings heavy firepower to bear on the government. Sad to say it, but at this point it looks like little else is going to work.
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They should ban those things 

As violence escalates in the Netherlands following the killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, Dutch police on an anti-terrorist raid find themselves the target of dangerous weapons:

Three Dutch police officers have been wounded in an explosion during an anti-terror raid on a house in The Hague...

"At the moment of assault, a hand grenade was thrown at the arrest team," said Hague Police Chief Gerard Bouwman. "It exploded and several officers were hurt."
Enough is enough. The Dutch parliament needs to enact an Assault Hand Grenade Ban, pronto. If Assault Hand Grenades are made illegal, nobody will have them. Especially not law-abiding citizens like the ones in the raided house.
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Monday, November 08, 2004

Refined face-stuffing 

You can keep your hot dog or pie eating contests. Here in Maine, we do it with just a little more class. (And a whole lot more work.)
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Bush voters not dumb 

There's an awful lot of venom being spewed by Democrats about how stupid Bush voters are. It's all over the place--the web, major newspapers, you name it. But are Bush voters really dumb? Exit polls tell a different story. It turns out that when voters are broken down by education level, John Kerry won the high school dropout vote, while Bush won among college graduates. CNN has the numbers.
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UN panel investigates Darfur genocide 

BBC:

UN body probing Sudan 'genocide'

A UN-appointed commission has arrived in Sudan to decide whether genocide has taken place in the region of Darfur.

The five-member panel has three months to reach a conclusion.
The efficiency and responsiveness of the United Nations never ceases to amaze. In other news, a special UN commission has been appointed to investigate claims that the earth is 'round.' The commission's preliminary report is expected in mid-2005.
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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Creationism is not science 

This kind of thing is just sad:

GRANTSBURG, Wisconsin (AP) -- School officials have revised the science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism, prompting an outcry from more than 300 educators who urged that the decision be reversed.

Members of Grantsburg's school board believed that a state law governing the teaching of evolution was too restrictive. The science curriculum "should not be totally inclusive of just one scientific theory," said Joni Burgin, superintendent of the district of 1,000 students in northwest Wisconsin.
One scientific theory? There is only one scientific theory out there. Creationism is certainly not it.

A scientific theory is an idea which is backed up by empirical evidence. Evolution certainly fits that description. Who can rationally argue that there is NOT an incredible fossil record, of plants and animals as well as hominids? That this record points to slow and steady changes leading to the world we see today? Nobody can, except for the "God put the fossils there to test our faith" crowd, and who has the patience to rationalize with them? These same people believe that the whole universe is four thousand years old, not 14 billion.

Science is science and religion is religion. Sometimes the two can intersect in interesting ways. Einstein himself made frequent references to God while puzzling about the nature of the universe. But he didn't consult religious texts to formulate his theories of relativity. He studied cold, hard, observable facts.

Creationism is not a cold, hard, observable fact. It's a story in a book, written by men in ancient times who did not know what we know today. They were doing the best they could to answer the question of how we got here.

They were wrong, and this school in Wisconsin is wrong.

One last thing: I find it a little funny to note that this happened in one of those smarter-than-the-rest-of-America "blue states."
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